If you’ve been taking advantage of back-to-school clearance sales for deals on all the odds and ends you need to keep your classroom running efficiently throughout the year (and who hasn’t been?), you may have begun to notice the early harbingers of fall appearing. The yearly sightings of fun costumes and festive decorations are all sure signs that spooky season is nearly upon us.

To help you prepare for the fearsome festivities, we’ve found thirteen (spooky how that worked out!) elementary-level Halloween writing activities and classroom projects that combine educational topics with age-appropriate spookiness for all the little ghouls and goblins in your class!

Halloween-Themed Writing Activities

In ancient times, it was thought that the veil between this world and the next was at its thinnest during the vernal equinox in fall. This makes Halloween an ideal time for your students to cast off their own veils of the everyday and embrace the spooky side!

Haiku Hauntings

Haiku poems are a style of short-form poetry that originated in Japan. Traditionally, haiku are made up of three phrases totaling 17 syllables in a 5, 7, 5 pattern; traditional haiku also contain seasonal references and commonly involve scenes from nature.

The strict pattern makes this an ideal writing activity for all students since the structure makes the poetry easier to finish for students who struggle with writing while still being a compelling activity for more advanced writers.

If you want to go further with using limitations to encourage creativity, try writing Halloween-themed words like skulls, candy, trick-or-treat, haunted house, clowns, cobwebs and more onto pieces of scratch paper. Put the pieces of paper into a trick-or-treat bag and have each student reach in to choose a theme for their haiku. 

How to Have the Best Halloween Ever

Instructional (or “how-to”) writing is easy to overlook when planning writing lessons. However, it’s one of the most engaging writing styles for young learners! Anyone who spends any amount of time with an elementary-aged child knows how much they love to share their expertise—use that confidence and willingness to share what they know about how to enjoy the holiday to help them practice clear communication.

Give each student a lined piece of paper and a plain white piece of paper. Have them fold the plain white paper into eighths. Then, have them choose the (best) Halloween activity (ever) that they want to write about, making sure their activity involves no more than eight steps. They’ll use the blank paper to illustrate their steps and the lined paper to explain each step. 

Students should make sure to include the goal of their how-to activity (like “how to collect the most Halloween candy,” “how to decorate your yard for Halloween” or “how to carve a pumpkin”), all materials needed for the activity and clear, specific directions the reader will be able to follow.

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Halloween Horror Prompts

Okay, “horror” might be a bit strong, but we love alliterations almost as much as we love fun and engaging writing prompts! Prose or poetry, long or short, these versatile ideas will help your class build their creative writing skills while celebrating the season.

  • Imagine your Halloween costume has disappeared right before you put it on to go trick-or-treating. Do you look for the costume or make up a new one? How do you do it?
  • Pretend you’re in charge of your class Halloween party. Make a plan for the party. What games and activities would there be? What food would be served?
  • What’s something that used to scare you but isn’t scary anymore? Why did it used to be so scary? Why do you think that changed?
  • Have students suggest ideas for your Halloween costume. Ask them to write persuasive writing on why their costume idea is the best. (For extra fun, read the papers out loud with no names attached and have students vote on which was the best.)
  • Do you like scary stories/movies? Why or why not?
  • Imagine your state’s governor has decided to make Halloween illegal. How would you convince them to change their mind?
  • If you could only go trick-or-treating or go to a Halloween party, which would you prefer? Why?
  • Onomatopoeias are words that mimic a sound, like “crunch,” “snap,” “squish” and “crackle.” Write a Halloween story that uses as many onomatopoeias as you can.
  • Imagine someone has never heard of Halloween and doesn’t know anything about it. Explain it to them. Make sure to include all the important information they’ll need to understand the holiday.
  • Make a list of rules for safe trick-or-treating.
  • What is Halloween night like from the perspective of the candies in the candy bowl?

Halloween-Themed Classroom Projects

Beyond writing, there are ways to add some Halloween spirit to every subject! Here are a few ideas that can be used as-is, added to an existing lesson or adapted to add a bone-chilling twist to something completely different!

Dance the Ghost

Demonstrate the strange and wonderful powers of static electricity by cutting a ghost shape out of tissue paper and then using the static electricity built up on a balloon to dance the ghost across your desk. You can also do this activity individually or in classroom pods, with each student or group making a ghost and being given balloons to perform the experiment.

students-making-halloween-decorationsHalloween Candy STEM Structures

Typical STEM building challenges have students use toothpicks and marshmallows to create structures of a certain style, height, etc. Turn any STEM structure into a pinnacle of pumpkin perfection by swapping out the marshmallows for gum drop pumpkins, harvest mix candy corn or other similar candy.

For extra “pumpkin” points (a Halloween variation of “brownie” points), challenge students to build structures in the shape of a bat, a jack-o’-lantern or a tower that is 13” tall.

Spider Towers

This is an activity you’ll probably have most of the supplies for already: the only thing you’ll need to get are plastic spider-shaped rings (these are usually available at dollar stores or craft stores). You’ll also need Play-Doh or similar clay, drinking straws or pipe cleaners and some dice.

Sort your students into pairs or have them play in a group. Each student sticks their straw or pipe cleaner into a ball of Play-Doh in front of them (the Play-Doh should stick to the desk). Then, they take turns rolling their die and stacking the number of spiders they roll onto their straw. The winner is the first person to fill their tower to the top with no room for more spiders—or the winner can be whoever fits the most spiders on their tower!

Eruption Pumpkin

How can you make the standard baking soda and vinegar volcano demonstration—already a consistent favorite among elementary students—even more entertaining? Turn it into a Halloween spectacular!

Start by building your volcano in a hollowed-out pumpkin. If you only go that far, it will still be the best classroom activity of the week, but you can make it even more special by introducing food dye in the vinegar (which will dye the color of the foam) and adding seasonal glitter to the baking soda. 

Discuss with students how the chemical reaction between acids and bases works. Talk it through and answer any questions. Then, demonstrate the chemical reaction with your eruption pumpkin!

tip When you hollow out the pumpkin, you can put the insides into a plastic Ziplock bag (or several) to make a sensory play toy. Just make sure to discard it at the end of the day!

Use Candy Corn for Math Lessons

We’ve discovered a new use for candy corn outside of pre-dinner snacking: math. From pattern matching to counting to basic arithmetic, any math activity sheet that uses a visual counting aid (like buttons, beads or beans) can get a Halloween glow-up by using candy corn instead.

Casper Stack-’Em-Ups

Hand out six white disposable cups per student and a selection of markers to draw on the cups. Students set the cups upside down and draw on ghost faces. Once they’re done, have them use their ghosts for cup-stack challenges: stack and unstack the cups, build a high tower in combination with other students, take turns stacking ghosts until someone tips the tower, etc.

Make a Spooky Story Book

Few projects can form lifelong bonds among your class’s cohort like creating a classbook and becoming published authors together. Will your class decide to collect classic Halloween riddles and make up new ones of their own? Will you use creative writing and art assignments to compile a collection of spooky stories and accompanying illustrations? If you can brainstorm it, we can help you make it happen—and it all starts with your FREE classbook publishing kit!

Classbooks are a great way to encourage collaboration and practice goal setting, and we provide you and your students with the tangible proof of your efforts in the form of a free copy of the classbook to keep in your classroom (your students’ parents can buy their own copies to keep at home). We’ll help every step of the way, and we’re happy to answer any questions you have!


Quick Halloween-Themed Activities

If you need a 5- or 10-minute activity to fill a gap in the day, boost your classroom’s energy or work out some wiggles, these activities will do all of that with bonus Halloween spirit!

Read a Halloween Book

Students love when people read to them, and children who are read to on a regular basis tend to have larger vocabularies and better language acquisition skills than those who aren’t. Pumpkins are a fun and popular topic for non-spooky stories or if your class is there for a scare, you can try an age-appropriate scary story told in the dark (or at least with the overhead lights off!).

Watch a Halloween Video

There are tons of excellent educational Halloween videos online! Try searching for Halloween traditions in other countries, Halloween celebrations throughout history, math riddles with a Halloween theme or even vintage cartoons—did someone say “spooky scary skeleton dance party?”

Frankie Says

If your students need a movement break, this Frankenstein variation on Simon Says is the perfect game for the season! Have everyone stand up and make the game festive by saying “Frankie says…” and then give the instructions an eerie twist with a Halloween theme. Try things like “Frankie says sneak like a black cat,” “Frankie says walk like a zombie,” “Frankie says flap like a bat” and so on.

Incorporating Halloween writing activities and class projects into your lesson plans during the fall is a great way to engage your students and teach them the skills they’ll need to advance in their academic careers and get top scores on standardized tests.

For more lesson plans, worksheets and other helpful learning resources for your classroom, check out our online Teacher’s Lounge and be sure to sign up for your FREE classbook publishing kit!